What's a first look?
A first look is a private moment where the soon-to-be-married couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day before the ceremony begins. This intimate encounter allows the bride and groom to share an emotional, heartfelt moment away from the guests, which can even help calm some nerves. It's a time for them to embrace, express their feelings, and take in the significance of the day together, capturing genuine reactions and creating cherished memories before they officially exchange vows in front of their loved ones.
BUT IT ALSO HAS A PRACTICAL ASPECT TO IT
A first look becomes especially crucial when a wedding ceremony is scheduled later in the day. By having a first look before the ceremony, the couple can take advantage of the available daylight for capturing portraits. This allows ample time to take photos of the couple, the wedding party, and their families in natural light, ensuring high-quality images. Moreover, it frees up time after the ceremony, allowing you to join cocktail hour and spend more time with guests, rather than spending a significant portion of the post-ceremony time solely on photography sessions. It's important to me that you actually attend and enjoy your own party!
"but it's important to us that we see each other for the first time when I walk down the Aisle"
I totally understand this sentiment! It's an emotional moment and you don't want the weight of it lightened by doing a first look. If this is the case, consider rearranging your timeline so that there is plenty of time between the ceremony ending and the cocktail hour starting, otherwise you will not have time to get any photos of your bridal party, your families, or just the two of you. Alternatively, you can forgo some of the portraits and take as much as you can during cocktail hour. However that means you miss cocktail hour completely and you might not get any reception detail shots since those photos are taken during cocktail hour when the room is still empty.
It is very common not to do a first look for morning/noon ceremonies (often the church ceremonies are on the earlier side) where the remainder of the wedding starts 3-4 hours later. It is during this time that we capture all the portraits! And it works out well because we have plenty of time before the sun sets too.
Whether you do a First Look or not, walking down the aisle is going to be emotional regardless. So instead of thinking that it would take away from that moment, you can think of it as having two of those moments, but one is more private & intimate, and the other more public & official.
At the end of the day, do what YOU want to do and what makes YOU happy.
These are just mere suggestions & past examples for your reference:)